This book, for the first time, provides laymen and mathematicians alike with a detailed picture of the historical development of one of the most momentous achievements of the human intellect ― the calculus. It describes with accuracy and perspective the long development of both the integral and the differential calculus from their early beginnings in antiquity to their final emancipation in the 19th century from both physical and metaphysical ideas alike and their final elaboration as mathematical abstractions, as we know them today, defined in terms of formal logic by means of the idea of a limit of an infinite sequence. But while the importance of the calculus and mathematical analysis the core of modern mathematics cannot be overemphasized, the value of this first comprehensive critical history of the calculus goes far beyond the subject matter. This book will fully counteract the impression of laymen, and of many mathematicians, that the great achievements of mathematics were formulated from the beginning in final form.
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